Apple and Samsung are heated rivals when it comes to selling smartphones and tablets, but the two companies are still in bed behind the scenes. Samsung makes the majority of Apple’s processors for the iPhone and iPad, and there hasn’t been another manufacturer that’s capable of replacing Samsung’s assembly line prowess.
Moves are being made to distance Samsung from the iPhone’s guts, however. A deal with TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing) has been struck for Apple’s mobile processors. TSMC will start making a chunk of the ‘A’ series chips for Apple in 2014, but Samsung is still supplying the bulk of the orders.
The Wall Street Journal confirmed the deal over this past weekend after Digitimes recently said that TSMC will start making upcoming chips for Apple’s next-gen devices. “TSMC plans to start mass-producing the chips early next year using advanced “20-nanometer” technology, which makes the chips potentially smaller and more energy-efficient,” according to the Journal.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reached a deal with Apple to supply its next-generation A8, A9, and A9X processors for iOS devices, according to industry sources. The company will reportedly begin manufacturing the chips using a 20-nanometer process, then upgrade to 16-nanometer and later 10-nanometer processes in the future.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) will reportedly land a deal for Apple’s future “A7’ processors when the Cupertino company’s current contract with Samsung expires in 2014.
Samsung has been responsible for Apple’s mobile chips since the introduction of the A4 back in 2010, but Apple has seemingly been looking to take its business elsewhere since the pair became embroiled in a series of lengthy legal battles.
Being in business with Apple can’t be all that bad right now. Despite a report this morning that claimed Apple’s suppliers experienced weak sales in February, there are a few Apple suppliers that are hiring more employees to meet demand.
The Apple TV, Cupertino’s “hobby” of a set-top box, is often used to test out new fabrication process for the A-series chips that go into iPhones, iPod touches and iPads. The last Apple TV ran a 32nm A5 processor built by Samsung with a single-core disabled, which eventually ended up (in a dual-core capacity) in the iPad mini.
This could be the first ripple of a very big wave: the Commercial Times out of Taiwan is claiming that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (or TSMC) is about to start trial production for Apple’s A6X SoC this quarter.
Why is this a big deal? Apple’s arch-nemesis Samsung currently manufacturers the A6X chip… and it might herald Apple shifting all of its multi-billion dollar chip business away.
There’s been a lot of talk about Project Azalea, Apple’s rumored $10 billion project with TSMC to build a top-secret chip plant on domestic shores. We’ve heard it might be built in New York. We’ve heard it might be built in Portland. Wherever it’s built, though, it’s believed to be a major blow against Apple’s frenemy Samsung, who currently builds the majority of Apple’s custom ARM chips.
Unfortunately, it turns out that Project Azalea might not have anything to do with Apple after all, with TSMC’s CEO himself now denying it.
Productions rates for the iPhone 5 are improving, supply sources claim, just in time for the handset to make its debut in more than 50 additional markets throughout December. Now that Apple has caught up with demand, the handset’s shipping delay has been reduced from four weeks to just 2-4 business days. Suppliers now expect the Cupertino company to sell 45 million iPhone 5 units during the fourth quarter alone.
Exclusivity to TSMC’s production would make things very difficult for Apple’s competitors.
In an effort to better meet the demand of its mobile devices — and make things very difficult for its competitors — Apple has reportedly been bidding to secure exclusive access to TSMC’s (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) custom smartphone chips. Qualcomm has also been bidding up against the Cupertino company, and both parties are believed to have submitted bids in excess of $1 billion.